The geek-god is back with a rousing sci-fi action-adventure that is in for a strong shout as one of this summer’s most satisfying offerings.
Dir. J.J. Abrams
2013 | USA | Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi | 132 mins | 2.39:1 | English
PG13 (passed clean) for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pine, Zoe Saldana, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin
Plot: After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one-man weapon of mass destruction.
Awards: Nom. for 1 Oscar – Best Visual Effects
Distributor: United International Pictures
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Slightly Complex
Audience Type: Mainstream
Viewed: In Theatres (IMAX 3D)
First Published: 9 May 2013
Benedict Cumberbatch will be one of the most merciless villains you will see this summer. He does not care about mortal life and is near indefatigable and undefeatable.
In one disturbing scene, he crushes a living man’s skull. Of course, we don’t explicitly see the gruesome act or its aftermath because after all this is a Hollywood blockbuster.
What I’m trying to say though is that with one of the great villains to emerge in many years, we have in our hands a film that is as equally compelling as it is a prime example of how to do a summer blockbuster right.
Enter geek-god J.J. Abrams, a master craftsman astute in both narrative and technical aspects of filmmaking. He is the Steven Spielberg of our generation, as equally at ease delivering flat-out entertainment as he does contributing to the visual iconography of the highly evolving post-2000s science-fiction genre.
Star Trek Into Darkness is arguably his best film to date, and I feel a slight improvement over its already excellent prequel, Star Trek (2009). The characters who adorn the first film return with a sort of familiarity… like family. And ‘family’, as a character insists, is what the U.S.S Enterprise is all about.
“You think your world is safe?”
Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) and Spock (Zachary Quinto) face an unprecedented threat in Cumberbatch’s nasty yet highly-intelligent villain. We see them grow closer to each other with a subtle hint of subdued homosexuality, an intriguing discourse that has been started by some Trekkie fans a long time back in a fandom phenomena that has been generally termed as ‘participatory fan culture’.
The plot moves at light speed without confusing viewers, and radiates a sort of energy that excites and thrills. Abrams understands visual entertainment and its potential to bring awe and wonderment, making us ignore some of the more unrealistic parts involving a particularly heroic quest by a protagonist.
Star Trek Into Darkness features stunning visual effects by Industrial Light & Magic, the highlight of which is a destructive collision between a huge spacecraft and a populated city, some footage of it appearing in the publicity trailers. However, the effects are never done at the expense of its human characters whom are for most parts richly developed.
Abrams will metaphorically be like a footballer and a basketballer in the next few years, juggling two beloved sci-fi franchises with Star Wars Episode VII and possibly a third ‘Star Trek’ film. They will present him with the most challenging phase of his career yet.
But if he continues with this rich vein of form, I think someone ought to put up a gold statue of him in space. But not on the Moon please… because that is so passé.